Thursday, November 29, 2012

Clap Your Hands For Carbs



























If you managed to avoid overdosing on carbs at Thanksgiving give yourself a big, well-deserved pat on the back.
And then if you're anything like me you may as well go ahead and slap your face for what you're going to do in December. After all, it's the traditional month of sugar.

And I say let's do it up right.

First, these pictures aren't very good so I'll just apologize now. I made these cakes right before Thanksgiving and I was in the midst of a baking marathon and was totally distracted from taking pictures.
I've probably mentioned before my struggle in doing multiple things at once.

Unless drinking TAB counts as a thing- then I can multitask like nobody's business.

So just use your imagination - it's cinnamon roll-ish, with a lovely yeasty texture.

And you need one.


Moravian Sugar Cake has been traditionally served in Moravian households as a breakfast bread at Easter and Christmas. I think though you'll find that you don't need a holiday as an excuse to enjoy this comforting treat.

Follow the directions carefully and whatever you do don't be tempted to add any additional flour. The dough (batter) will be very sticky (almost gooey) but that's how it should be,

Let's hear it for gooey.








Moravian Sugar Cake

Ingredients:
2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup water (110 F)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons non-fat powdered milk
1/4 cup instant mashed potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted cooled butter
2 eggs
3 cups flour
butter
For Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup melted cooled butter
Directions:

Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into the 1/2 cup of warm water then set aside until yeast bubbles, and mixture is foamy.

Add the next 7 ingredients, and about 1 cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon.

Add remaining flour or a little more if needed, until sticky bread dough consistency.

Place in a greased bowl and turn it to coat.

Dot dough with butter, and let it rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Then, punch dough down, and place in a greased shallow baking pan (about 17 x 12 inches) Let rise 30 minutes, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Punch your fingers into the dough making indentations.
Pour on remaining 1/2 cup of butter, and let dough rise another 30 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 375ºF for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.




***

Here's what it will look like before baking


I think you and your family will love this!

Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Linky Linky Lu






Hi everyone.

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm proud and delighted to be a guest over at Fresh Start Stories (Click Here) today!  My writer pal, Bev, is featuring a couple of my most popular recipes and I'd love to have you click over there and check it out.


Bev's an award-winning author and a dear, dear friend. She's recently released her third book in the popular Seasons of Cherryvale series. You can check it out on her website or click Here! to order yourself a copy.

(Or ten copies if you are so inclined.)

(They would make awesome Christmas gifts.)

(Or how about that hostess gift you need to pick up before your first Christmas party?)

You'll love it. And her too!

Promise.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Farm Tour Volume:All the Pretty Colors


























Hello y'all.

I'm just looking at some photos that I took at the farm during the Thanksgiving holiday and thinking how absolutely beautiful the fall tree color is this year. Now our typical fall color wheel goes from kinda brown-brown-dead-bare, but I suppose this year's climate has been just perfect for an awesome fall show.

All of you people from the Northeast and Colorado please keep in mind that we native Texans are tempted to just jump up and down and clap our hands at scenes such as these.

I love the quality of the light in the picture above and was just mesmerized (yes, almost to tears) by it's unique luster.






















Some of the trees were simply brilliant. I love the serenity of this picture with the cows to the left.



























Here's a close-up. Years ago I had my "colors" done. Did y'all do that? It was all the rage at the time. Basically it was just a process to identify (from your skin tone, hair, and eye color) what your most flattering colors would be. I was quite disappointed when I was told I was an "autumn". I really hoped to be a kicky summer or fun spring. If I had only realized how lovely fall colors can be! Oh to be as beautiful as a tree!



























I think this large, dead tree that has washed ashore is quite sculptural. Don't you agree?





























Here's a closer view... I think next time I will take a chisel and fashion a coffee table from it.

Or a china cabinet.

Go big or go home.




























For all the Weegie fans...


























Although the lake is certainly not full, it is so good to see this much water after last year's devastating drought. Do you see all the ducks in the air? They were absolutely everywhere on the water-I just love the sound their wings make as they take flight.


Hope you enjoyed the extremely brief tour!




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving from the Celery Whisperer

Dear Internets,

Hello. Hi. How are you?

Now some (two) of you have been worried about my lack of posts lately and I am here to assure you that everything is good and right and fine. I'm just very easily distracted.

And also a slacker.

But let's see.


1. I made it to HEB today by 8 am where I expertly filled my cart and was out of there by 8:45. Because really? Have you ever shopped in HEB on the day before Thanksgiving? My 45 minute record time  is only impressive if you completely disregard the fact that I left my list in the car and only got about 7 of the 37 things that were on it. But, not to be outdone by a missing list, I deftly finished out my 37 thing goal with items that I totally don't need at all. Like light Karo syrup and dark Karo syrup and molasses. Because I already have two bottles of each. I begin to panic in early November that OH MY GOSH I WON'T HAVE ANY KARO SYRUP WHEN IT IS TIME  TO MAKE A PECAN PIE and buy another jar every time I go to the store.

Now if I only had some pecans.

2. I took Weegie to the vet at 10:00. He had all his immunizations and an exam and except for his gimpy leg (surgery scheduled for next week) he is the picture of health.
I love my vet - he's cute and likes my dog. What more could a girl want? I also fell hard in love with 3 English Bulldogs in the waiting area and may have asked the young couple who owned them if I could take them home with me. Or if they would take me home with them. Now I can't remember how it all went down.

3. Then I chopped and cooked and baked and talked to celery for the rest of the afternoon. I was trying to coax some  limp celery back to life and by golly with a little soak in ice cold water, a pep talk from me and a quick prayer on the side that celery was like new.
Next on the list was CPR. I'm glad it didn't come to that.

4. I've been nursing an injury. A couple of nights ago I ate a Lime Frozen Fruit Bar and it froze onto my upper lip. (Shades of A Christmas Story) (minus the pole and snow, of course) I made the mistake of pulling it off too soon and lo unto me part of my lip came off with it. There was bleeding and drama (and a huge concern that the blood was going to ruin my fruit bar) (because FIRST WORLD PROBLEM AND ALL)  and I may have moaned and complained and told The Chief one or several hundred times that I was pretty sure that I was going to need a blood transfusion. In typical Chief fashion though he kept a cool head, handed me a large wad of paper towels and said "Here. Stuff this in your mouth. I think it may just take care of the whole problem"

So anyway I survived (seriously, it was touch and go) and the next day was sporting a slightly swollen upper lip which looked a little like I may have had that lip-plumping surgery.
You know, without the injections or the hefty price tag.

Or Brad Pitt waiting for me at home with the kids.



So as you can see life has been exciting around here as always.

I do want to take the opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and to thank you for continuing to hang out here with me on occasion when you are totally bored and have nothing else in the world to do.

I'm thankful for you.

And Switzerland.

Love,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey is as Turkey Does


I've been kind of thinking that we might need to talk turkey.

Tis the season.

Now I love a good turkey. A moist, tryptophan-filled bird with a little crispy crust on the outside. A  perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and perfectly delicious fowl.

A turkey that is cooked by anyone but me.

Not that I've necessarily had a lot of turkey failures. Unless we go back to that one particular boy in high school.  No. I've not really messed up too many turkeys because I've been afraid to get  involved. Emotionally or on a strictly physical level.

I'm a turkey chicken.

(Now that right there is funny. Just admit it. It's Friday. Things like that are extra funny on Fridays.)

I don't care who you are.

I've always been able to weasel out of the turkey thing as we were typically the ones traveling to meet family for Thanksgiving and frankly, even the slimmest of turkeys takes up a lot of room in the cooler. Room that I need for TAB. So how could anyone possibly expect me to bring a turkey to the celebration? I'm always much better with a soupy apple pie or maybe some really lumpy mashed potatoes. They are my Thanksgiving specialties.

But this year.

This year I am responsible for the turkey and to be honest I have contemplated going somewhere and contracting a serious case of the plague just to get out of it. Surely I wouldn't be expected to pull through with a turkey if I was feverish, hallucinating and covered with large sores.
Surely.

But I have a really cute new shirt that I was planning to wear on Thanksgiving Day and all, and after weighing that against the whole plague thing I've decided to just suck it up and take a turkey.

I know.

I'm practically a Warrior Princess.

I have decided to allow an excellent BBQ place to smoke a turkey for me. And I am not ashamed.

That's not completely true. I am ashamed.

But just think. This way there's no sores, a darn cute shirt, and some tasty leftovers.  And as a bonus? I'll still have time to make the much anticipated pie and mashed potato knots.

So it's win-win for everyone.

I guess I'm more like The Thanksgiving Angel.


Have a good weekend y'all.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Serve This In Your Fuzzy Socks





























Well not IN your socks, of course. While wearing them I mean.

(But if any of you do decide to serve it in your socks please post it to Pinterest. It will become all the rage)

(!!)

I don't know about you but I've spent a good part of the last month or so with my red carpet rolled out and a hostess gift in hand, just waiting for Cold Crisp Weather (or his reclusive brother Relatively Cool Crisp Weather) to show up.

Oh and also I spent some of my time watching and listening to this a hundred times.






Um.

Basically because Vince Gill could sing harmony with a rock and make it sound good. And also because when I sing into the bathroom mirror with my perfume bottle as a microphone? I sound freakishly like Kelly Clarkson.

I know. Who knew?


But back to the cool weather.

Here's the thing. We've only got a very limited period of time to eat all of the seasonally appropriate foods like soup and stews and other things that raise your body temperature. Things that people up north can eat for months and months without breaking a sweat. I may resent them just a bit.

This chowder is so, so good.

And filling.

And up north-y!

And easy!

And did I mention good?











Cheddar Chicken Corn Chowder
Lu

2 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
2 small bell peppers (any color), chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
¼-1/3 c. flour
4 cups chicken broth
1 T. Better Than Bouillon (chicken)
2-3 cups heavy cream
3 cups cheese (I use a combination of cheddar and Monterey Jack)
3 cups shredded chicken
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ coarsely ground black pepper

Heat the butter and oil over med. heat then add the bell peppers and the onion and sauté until the onions are just translucent. Add the corn kernels and sauté for about 5 minutes more. Sprinkle the flour in, and stir to evenly coat the mixture. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and the Better than Bouillon and cook until broth is just slightly boiling. Reduce heat to low and add the heavy cream, cheese, chicken and seasonings.  Cook over very low heat for 20-30 minutes.
Garnish each serving with chopped green onion, chopped pimento, or crumbled bacon.



Don't forget the fuzzy socks!

Friday, November 9, 2012

No Fear of Flying Here

Last night was the final meeting of the Bible Study on Ruth that I've been hosting in my home. We started in the summer with a study on Nehemiah (Get out your hammer people, we're building that wall!) and then chose Ruth for our fall study. And honestly, if you've never REALLY studied Ruth? Oh sweet mercy, you're missing some fabulous drama, a budding romance, and an abundance of blessings all rolled into one short little chapter.

They always say big things come in small packages.

What an encouragement this group of women has been to me. What a lovely yet diverse combination of personalities and backgrounds.  Women that accept and understand the everyday struggles of others.

Did you know everyone has struggles?

Just checking.

Do you have a group of friends with whom you learn new things? Are they aware of what's happening in your life? Do they know what's hurting you? Do they not only say they understand but also do something tangible and meaningful (like pray!) as an affirmation of their concern?

If not, I encourage you to seek out a group of people like this. Invest yourself in others. Really learn what is going on in their lives. To me it's kind of like the wonder of travel.  Through travel I've opened my eyes more fully to the place that I occupy here on earth. This tiny little place that is my earthly home seems so much clearer to me in scope when in the context of such an awesome world. Everyone is not like me (boy, did we all dodge the bullet on that one), and for this I am so grateful.
But as I have traveled, I have changed.
You'll experience the same changes if you visit your friends' worlds. Really show up. Pack a bag. Read their own personal guide book. Ask about their history. You'll learn things about yourself that you never knew before.

It won't even require a ticket or itinerary. No baggage fees. (!!)

All it takes is willingness on your part.

Thank you ladies, you're like London, Paris, and West Texas all rolled into one!

(Oh and Russia! Shout out to Natasha!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Let's Not Kid Ourselves About The Skinny



























Since it's Thursday I thought you might be hungry.

After all, I'm usually hungry at least at some point almost every Thursday. It seems to be a pattern of mine. And come to think of it that pattern seems to kick in on other days as well.

These are similar in form and function to the Skinny Hips Special K Bars that I posted a couple of weeks ago.  You can find that recipe here
But we won't kid ourselves about these. There's nothing remotely skinny about them. They're similar to a chocolate covered cherry with the addition of a soul-satisfying crunchy bite.

You are welcome.

I think you'll like them. Even if you wait til Friday or Monday.

Don't forget to try out the spiffy new print and save gadgets for all your favorite recipes.

I know! We could not be more fancy.

Y'all Enjoy!








Nutella Cherry Crisp Bars

Lu
1 ½ c. sugar
1 ½ c. light corn syrup
1 ½ c. Nutella
8 c. Special K cereal
¾ -1 c. Cherry preserves
1 (12 oz.) pkg.  semi-sweet  chocolate chips

In a large, heavy saucepan heat the sugar and corn syrup over med-low heat until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Stir in the Nutella and mix together using a whisk. Heat for about 2 minutes than remove from heat. Continue to stir with whisk. When mixture is smooth pour it over the cereal and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed.
Pour into a buttered 10x10 in. square pan and pat down until even. While still warm spread the cherry preserves evenly over the top.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips stirring until smooth. Spread evenly over the top of the bars.
Cool and cut into bars.

I Aim to Please, But I'm Not a Crackerjack Shot



So I get an e-mail from a friend. And she proceeds to tell me that I need to post something that will help her get over the angst she experienced last night during the election coverage.

Something "you know Lu, like you post about your life and things around your house and Weegie and all that - you know Lu, Boring Stuff..."

End quote.

And then she may have mentioned that "you realize you're not a poet don't you?"

Which I don't know about you, but that last one practically shocked the life right out of me.

But she's generally pretty smart, and she graduated and all, so here goes. I always believe that boring is best brought to you in handy list form.

1.  We are loving the weather here at Mudpuddle Inc. I have given the entire staff a few days off. They have spent their time laying in the chaise on the back patio in the sun and occasionally eating a stick.

2. Over the weekend, The Chief and I went shopping at Highland Village which is all very trendy and fashionable (this is important only because we are not...) and had a great time. We actually bought a new dark brown leather couch and chair to replace our current and almost identical dark brown leather couch and chair which we plan to move up to the farm. Like I said, we're practically trendsetters. Next thing you know we'll be on HGTV.

New show title: Keeping Things Just The Same with The Chief and Lu

3. While we were fan-cee shopping The Chief even was on-board when I suggested we go into Sprinkles Cupcakes and buy some of the highly over-priced, yet decidedly attractive little treats. We got three. Cinnamon, Lemon-Ginger, and Salted Caramel. (I know y'all would have just died if I hadn't told you that). Anyway, the funny thing is that The Chief actually ate some of each of them and really didn't say anything at all about the exorbitant price. Something is definitely wrong and I have suggested he have a full medical work-up. Because The Chief and a $4.00 cupcake is just not right.

You know it's so.


4. Several of our neighbors (I like to call them the Christmas Overachievers) have already had the Christmas Light People come to their houses and get them all decked out for The Holidays. Personally I think this is like stabbing Thanksgiving in the back. Or, I suppose the front if you look at the calendar.

5. My dear friend and neighbor (not one of the overachievers)(at least not in the Christmas light sense) (but most definitely in the cute earrings sense) JoBeth and I went to lunch yesterday  at the original Goode Co. Seafood where we enjoyed one of my very favorite foods in the world, the Campechana.


Please. This is an awful, awful picture. It doesn't begin to do the dish justice. If you've never had it you simply MUST.

It's the most wonderful concoction of fresh chunks of seafood like shrimp and crab and fresh vegetables like tomato and avocado in a peppery, deep rich sauce. Think seafood cocktail on steroids.

(Of course, without the subsequent accusations, costly trial and resulting loss of advertising sponsors)

I will accompany you for your first taste. No, no. Don't thank me.

I have the actual recipe for it (it's about 10,000 ingredients long) but I've never made it myself. My fear is the potential disappointment. Why should I risk that?

We may have each eaten one of those apiece and then ordered something else to split, but I really can't remember. Let's just say I won't really need any further nourishment until sometime in December.



I trust this has been sufficient in the boring department.

Have a good day!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

So Sleepy... or is it Sleepie?

I didn't sleep too much last night,
my mind, it was a' reeling.
I'm not sure why. I can't explain
the feeling I was feeling.

I was tired, I was pooped,
and yet so wide awake.
I guess it really might have been
My Brain. Oh mercy sake.

Sometimes it takes me here or there
There's never any telling
It sticks sometimes on things so weird
like words I have been spelling.

I try to think on other things
like sheep or happy bunnies,
But really, if the truth be told
at midnight, nothing's  funny.

I ask you? Do you lie awake
and watch the clock like I do?
Are you so sad you cannot sleep?
You want to cry and boo-hoo?

The answers are tied up somewhere
I'm sure inside my psyche.
I will admit, nobody cares
Just how I should spell like-y...

Like-ie?

Argh.

Please send help...



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Get the Magnifying Mirror. We've Had a Makeover!


Welcome to the new look of Mudpuddle!

I hope you like the makeover as much as I do. Not only is the look new and bright, it's also a bit more user friendly. Making comments on the posts is less of a hassle (Amen!), you can click on the above tabs that will link you directly to all your favorite posts about Weegie or The Farm, and you'll also finally be able to locate all my wonderful recipes by clicking on the Recipe tab.

I am very excited.

My very favorite new gadgets are the
 

and the 


buttons!

These will allow you to print all your favorite recipes straight from the blog or save them to your computer.

***Now this takes some setting up on my end- so far I only have the most recent posts' recipe (Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Buns) ready to go with the print and save options, but scan down to that recipe and try it out for yourself!

Let me know how you like it!

Many thanks to the talented, patient, and kind Kristen for her expert work. 

Please take a minute to wander around and let me know what you think about the new look.

(!!)